Summer cocktails

by Ana Tavares [email protected]

A true master of mixology, an art he describes as “blending the exact right drink with a complementary experience”, Joaquim Veras has been bartending at Vila Vita Parc, in Porches, for 20 years.

Obsessed with improving his craft and always on the lookout for new tools and techniques, Joaquim’s work at the 5-star resort is based on three factors: great attention to detail – from choosing the best drinks and blending them thoroughly, to making the perfect ice cube and serving the mixes in high-quality glasses; human interest – he says that a good bartender is an entertainer by nature; and an old-school idea of what a bar should look like – think well-known television series Mad Men – elegant, glamorous and with well-spoken bartenders who are there to make the clients’ experience as enjoyable as possible.

“I love the idea of drinking as part of socialising. Drinking is a good way to slow down and enjoy the moment,” says the head bartender, who is in charge of the resort’s six bars and manages a team of 15 with clockwork precision.

Saying that Vila Vita is at the forefront of mixology in Portugal – the resort boasts an impressive list of 399 finely crafted cocktails – Joaquim is quick to pinpoint this year’s trends, which highlight “fresh and concentrated” beverages. Gin and the all-time favourite G&T are amongst 2013’s most fashionable drinks, whilst classics, such as the martini and Collins cocktails, will also be on trend. Another favourite, says Joaquim, are artisanal cocktails, which Vila Vita’s bartenders cleverly put together using top-of-the-range spirits with Herdade dos Grous jams, homemade liqueurs and some of Portugal’s best fortified wines, blending truly original cocktails that live up to the resort’s gastronomic excellence.

“We make each cocktail especially for the client,” explains Joaquim, who gave the Algarve Resident the recipe for two of this summer’s yummiest cocktails.

Joaquim Veras’ signature Cocktail Springtemps

Caramelised sugar, cinnamon and Galliano rim

30ml of Port wine

15ml of Galliano

15ml of lime juice

1 tablespoon of pumpkin jam

Lime zest

Summer Crush Cocktail

30ml of vodka

250ml of fig liqueur

10ml of fresh lime

50ml of fresh apple juice

40ml of fresh green melon juice

1 tablespoon of rosemary honey

Fresh root ginger

A splash of soda

A dash of Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Served with caramelised apple chips on top